Saturday, April 11, 2015

Justice Denied DJ Henry

There will be no charges filed:

"Lawyer condemns lack of US charges in DJ Henry shooting" by Laura Crimaldi, Globe Staff  April 09, 2015

The lawyer for the family of an Easton man fatally shot by a police officer in New York in 2010 on Wednesday rejected a decision by federal prosecutors not to bring criminal civil rights charges in the case, but said the development will not impede civil lawsuits filed over the death.

Attorney Michael H. Sussman said there was enough evidence to prove that the Pleasantville, N.Y., police officer who shot Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., 20, through a car windshield had “willful intent to kill” and could have retreated.

“We simply disagree with their conclusion,” Sussman said during a conference call. “He had no basis to shoot.”

Sussman said Henry’s parents, Danroy Sr. and Angella, plan to proceed with civil lawsuits they filed against Aaron Hess, the officer who fired the fatal shots, and the village of Pleasantville.

Separately, they sued the town of Mount Pleasant, one of its officers, and another Pleasantville officer. That complaint alleges the officers failed to aid Henry after he was shot.

Henry, a Pace University junior, was mortally wounded on Oct. 18, 2010, outside a restaurant in Thornwood, N.Y., where police had been summoned to disperse patrons.

An investigation by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara found Henry was shot after pulling his car into a fire lane.

A Mount Pleasant officer approached the car and knocked on the window. As Henry pulled out of the fire lane, the officer shouted at him to stop, authorities said. Henry proceeded on an access road, and Hess stepped in front of the car, prosecutors said.

The US attorney said that “although there are inconsistencies in the witness accounts regarding the chronology” of what happened next, investigators found that Henry’s car was braking when it struck Hess, who ended up on the hood, then fired through the windshield.

On Tuesday, Bharara said his office is closing the case because the evidence did not meet the “exacting standard of criminal intent required” and because prosecutors could not prove Hess intentionally violated Henry’s civil rights.

Maybe you could send him to Gitmo like the hundred or so guys that gotta keep there forever.

But Sussman questioned the burden of proof.

“Why should there be such a high standard? They told us that this is the highest standard in the law,” Sussman said. “Why should that be? It’s an outrage, actually.” 

Any video?

Hess’s lawyer, Brian S. Sokoloff, said his client is grateful for the decision.

“It’s yet another affirmation by an independent set of eyes that the narrative that some people espouse about this incident is simply fiction,” he said.

I'm getting fictional narratives all the time. You get used to it.

US Representative Joseph Kennedy III, whose district includes the community where Henry’s parents live, said the decision not to prosecute was “deeply disappointing and long overdue.”

“A system that continues to leave families and communities of color feeling like they can’t access justice is a system in need of reform,” he said in a statement.

Legal experts said proving specific intent to deprive another of constitutional rights is tricky.

Boston civil rights attorney Howard Friedman said federal prosecutors want to be sure they can get a conviction when they bring a criminal case against a police officer because juries hesitate to return guilty findings against law enforcement officers.

Even these days, or is that just an excuse to protect bad cops (and then hire them)?

“They want to have everything lined up so that they feel very confident that they will win,” he said.

It's almost as if they want a completely staged and scripted show, no?

Former US Attorney Donald K. Stern said prosecutors often have to sort through a lot of conflicting evidence when determining whether someone acted specifically to violate the civil rights of another.

“It’s a hard standard to meet,” he said.



No hope left, I gue$$.